Chicago: A Great Place for Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of any successful and economically viable city. They not only drive jobs and revenue to local communities but they are often at the forefront of innovation.

In recent years, the City of Chicago has made a commitment to help these small businesses start, grow and prosper by streamlining its licensing procedures, creating a one-stop shop for small businesses in City Hall and implementing a micro loan program.

For more information on starting a business in Chicago, visit the Small Business Center website at

Our top 10 free things to do in Chicago

Having lived in Chicago for 20 years, we came up with our list of the top 10 free things to do in Chicago when we have guests visiting us from out of town. Come discover with us our beautiful city and all the free attractions it has to offer.

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22 Small Business Ideas for Chicago City USA

Chicago is the third-most populous city in the United States. Here are 22 businesses you can start in Chicago city. 22 Small Business Ideas for Chicago City USA. Start a small business in America with these ideas.

25 Business Ideas for Los Angeles-

Top 20 Profitable Business Opportunities for New York City USA –

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22 Small Business Ideas for Chicago City USA

10 best things to do in Chicago

Chicago may have been a “toddling” town when Sinatra visited in the mid-20th century, but it has developed into a world class grown up full of music, art, food, culture and sports. Wherever your interests lie, the city offers memorable things for you to see and do. The city’s excellent public transit system, Divvy bike share program, and accessible lakefront trail make it easy to get from one part of Chicago to the other.

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Displaying leadership for our veterans

Displaying leadership for our veterans

Five decades before Sweeney became the president of the foundation that would raise millions of dollars to construct two Fisher Houses in Cleveland, he fought in a controversial war as a sergeant within the 11th Brigade, Americal Division. As a 22-year-old raised in a military family, Sweeney rode helicopters over the jungles of Vietcong as he dodged machine gun fire. He lost friends, slept on sandbags, endured artillery fire five days a week. Though Sweeney speaks rarely in detail of his wartime years — which earned him a Bronze Star — he’s unafraid to capture its severity in brief.

“Every war sucks,” he said. “Plain and simple. It’s cruel. It’s arbitrary. Only the truly lucky ones come out of combat. It’s a special experience, I can tell you that.”

After a two-decade career as a deep-voiced news anchor for Baltimore’s WMAR and, later, Cleveland’s WKYC Channel 3, Sweeney retired in 1992 to care for his boys, Tuck and Connor.

Come 2011, Sweeney was asked by Susan Fuehrer, the director of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA, to spearhead a special team to raise funds for the first Fisher House suites in the area. Sweeney was taken aback: He’d never heard of the concept.

“I had no idea what the hell she was talking about,” he said. “Why would I? They weren’t around when I was in uniform.”

Although the first Fisher House opened up 25 years ago at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the push for improved psychiatric care for returning vets has long been a conundrum in the United States. “Shell shocked” soldiers who survived mortar shrapnel in World War I were occasionally sent back into combat if their disorder was deemed “nervous” — an emotional collapse — and not a physical wound. By the time President Richard Nixon had resigned, psychiatrists were just starting to analyze Vietnam vets for signs of physically manifested trauma, though it would take another decade for the American Psychiatric Association to add “post-traumatic stress disorder” to the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” in 1980.

Soldiers were finally being understood. Yet, still, there was an entity widely left out of DSM mental diagnoses: their families.

In 1990, while the VA was starting to treat polytrauma via the neurologically focused Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treatment, Zachary Fisher, an 80-year-old owner of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, shifted gears to found an organization of military “comfort homes,” all under the belief that “a family’s love is the best medicine.” (Vets families were also, Fisher noticed, sleeping on VA couches.)

Seventy-two Fisher Houses would pop up globally, though not in Cleveland. Most today are near military bases and VA medical centers, and operate as state-of-the-art, 16-suite hotels fashioned with modern-designed interiors, full kitchens, play rooms and lasagna dinners.

“It’s a holistic approach to reintegration,” said Dr. Joseph Baskin, a psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic who worked for the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA for 12 years. “But it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all. I’m sure there are some people who might be better off apart, who don’t want to impose on their families.”


Published at Sat, 02 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000

Chicago Top 5 – Things To Do

Chicago Top 5 – Things To Do

The best recommendation of things to do in Chicago. Visiting this city is a must and here are some of my things you must do while here.

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Things NOT To Do in Chicago

Things NOT To Do in Chicago

Get more Tips here!
Do not put ketchup on your hot dog.
A true Chicago-style hot dog is a Vienna beef hot dog in a poppyseed bun, topped with onions, mustard, sweet pickle relish, tomato slices, a dill pickle spear and a dash of celery salt.
Get Your Words Right!
Calling Chicago Chi-town really bothers some people
Is Chi-raq okay?

It’s “Dee-vón” instead of “dev-in” and “Paul-eye-nah” not “Paul-eena.” There is a long list that I could go on, but I am going to keep it short and sweet.
Calling it “the train” instead of the “el.”

Don’t fly in or out of O’Hare
O’Hare Airport has one of the worst on-time records in the country.
especially when there’s bad weather.
Use Midway , chicago’s other Airport instead which sees fewer delays and shorter security lines

Do not buy Cubs tickets in advance.
Unless the Cubs return to their playoff form of 2003, there is no reason to try to get tickets to see the Cubs at Wrigley Field in advance. Scalpers are always outside of the ballpark in full force and if you wait until the game has started, you can probably even grab a ticket at a discount.

Don’t visit when it’s cold
There’s no getting around it: Chicago winters are miserable. If you want to be able to experience all the city has to offer, visit between May and September, when the city comes alive with outdoor food and music festivals just about every weekend. This is also the best time of year to enjoy beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan, biking on the lakefront trail, strolls through Millennium and Grant Park, and architectural boat rides on the Chicago River. If you visit in winter, you can still take advantage of Chicago’s great restaurants, bars, shopping, and cultural venues, but you’ll almost freeze to death in the process.

That’s pretty impressive right? (Skybox)
No! It’s too expensive!
DON’T: Go to the Willis Tower
You’ll wait in a long line and pay $19 to go to the top of what is now the country’s second-tallest building. Of course you can pay 40$ for a fast pass to skip the queue.
DON’T: Take the family to Navy Pier
Navy Pier is like the Times Square of Chicago: It’s iconic, yes, but it’s busy and touristy, and there isn’t all that much to actually do there.

And finally
Don’t miss an architecture boat tour.
the Chicago Architecture River Cruise is the quintessential Chicago visitor experience. You’ll get a primer on Chicago’s history, and also enjoy a prime vantage point from which to enjoy the city’s world famous architecture.

Source Lunch with … Fred Cummings

Source Lunch with … Fred Cummings

Fred Cummings founded Elizabeth Park Capital Management in Pepper Pike in 2008. Over the years of running a supremely successful, bank-focused hedge fund — which happens to feature some of the region’s most prominent businesspeople as investors — he has carved out a significant niche in the investment world and banking industry, comfortably establishing himself as an authority the world of M&A for financial institutions.

With 2017 shaping up to be another highly active year for bank deals, Crain’s decided to sit down with Cummings to talk about the M&A environment overall, what trends are driving buyers and sellers in today’s market, and what catalysts in the banking sector could influence deal flow from here.


So 2016 was a big year for bank M&A. What’s activity looking like in 2017 so far?

While M&A is not stronger than ever, it’s stronger than it’s been in the last six years. Things are moving in the right direction in terms of the number of deals getting done. And even the price-to-tangible book multiples are all trending higher. I think the all-time high level of M&A activity occurred in the early 1990s, where you had a record number of deals. One reason we won’t see that happen again is simply because there is a fewer number of banks out there. So one has to look at the percentage of banks that have sold each year relative to the number of banks at the beginning of the year. That number has been hovering around 4%. Around the early ’90s, it reached 4.5%. So that’s a signal that things are very robust and very healthy right now.

What’s comparable in terms of M&A volume today is relative to some 25 years ago, then. Why did it take so long to get back to this level of activity?

There are a couple factors. For one, typically buyers don’t want to buy until they’re confident credit quality is sound, and we’re clearly at that point. Right now, credit quality indicators are stronger than they were (before the) financial crisis in 2007. Two, you had bank stock prices go up. That’s allowed the buyer to have strong currency with which to pursue acquisitions. Three, the regulatory environment has loosened up to some extent. Not to the extent we need it to, but it’s improved. And lastly, the economy is improving. All those factors taken together have contributed to an ideal environment for M&A activity to occur.

So as we talk about it being a strong year for M&A, how’s that treating your business?

We launched an event-driven fund in February 2016 with the focus of identifying banks who would be likely sellers over a three-year time frame in anticipation of M&A remaining strong. That fund did well last year, in part due to the broad-based rally that bank stocks enjoyed. But in terms of number of deals in that fund, we had five banks sold in that fund last year. This year, we’ve had seven so far. So we’re very pleased with that progress.

And I imagine you expect more before the end of the year?

We fully expect, based on our conversations with banks across the country, that there is going to be more M&A. Banks are looking to increase their market share in specific markets all over the country and looking to achieve economies of scale, cut costs, and they’re attempting to leverage their capital. And that’s the best thing. The banking industry is blessed with a lot of capital right now. And they want to put that to work, and one way to do that is through strategic M&A.

Now let’s say the administration actually makes progress on its agenda and achieves things like bank regulatory relief or tax reform. How could that impact the M&A landscape?

I think the biggest impact would be regulatory changes, particularly loosening regulations on larger banks. At that point, you’d likely have more big banks like KeyBank and Fifth Third Bank entering the M&A markets. We saw Huntington Bank do a deal over the last year and Key. But I think the biggest change would be with any type of regulatory relief, you’ll see more big banks, super-regional banks, actually pursue deals. That would put more buyers in the marketplace.

And those large banks would target other large banks, too, I imagine.

Yes, they’d buy larger banks. The banks with assets of $20 billion to $50 billion would be the sellers. Right now, most of those banks want to be buyers. If we get regulatory relief, some of those big, super-regionals might enter the M&A arena.

In terms of relief, how the definition of SIFI (systematically important financial institutions) banks could change, would be a major factor in this, right?

It’s why we think the largest banks would be the biggest beneficiaries of any type of regulatory relief. What you’re looking for in tangible regulatory relief is definitely that SIFI definition, which is defined as a bank with assets greater than $50 billion. That threshold might be lifted. And if that happens, we anticipate some of those banks becoming buyers.

Any thoughts on the general state of M&A in our regional market here or across the state?

We know there are a lot of banks around and outside the state who are interested in becoming bigger here in Northeast Ohio — names like First Commonwealth Bank, S&T Bank, Park National Bank in Newark, Peoples Bank in Marietta. There are a number of banks who want a stronger presence in Northeast Ohio or want to enter the market based on the number of business that operate here. So I would expect there to be some M&A still. But you got to have a willing seller, and we don’t know how many are really willing to sell.


A top item on your bucket list?

Visiting the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy

Any hobbies?

Traveling and drinking red wine

Any wines you prefer?

“Cabernet Sauvignon. Joseph Phelps is one of my favorites.”

What’s something your friends may not know about you?

“I’m a big fan of Broadway shows.”

If not running your own investment business, what might you be doing?

“Probably teaching elementary school math. I love young people and working with kids.”

Lunch Spot

Flour Restaurant

34205 Chagrin Blvd., Moreland Hills

The meal

Sausage sandwich with peppers and onions, with chips and iced tea. And the catch of the day: lemon vinaigrette salmon served on a bed of chick peas, cucumbers and tomatoes, with water.

The vibe

The restaurant has an industrial-modern feel. Bright, spacious and colorful. Lots of authentic Italian dishes and reworked classics. Quick service for a busy lunch.

The bill

$37.26, plus tip


Published at Sun, 27 Aug 2017 04:01:00 +0000